Thursday, 2 July 2015

Bad meringue, good meringue

You might have realised by now that when the little blue plate comes out, things haven't gone so well. Its bright colour cheers me up.

The good thing about the Praline Pecan Meringue Ice Cream Sandwiches the Alpha Bakers made this week was that I was able to use some of my rapidly growing stock of frozen egg whites.

For a while I thought that was going to be the only good thing about this recipe. In fact when the meringues accidently fell out of the fridge late last night my first inclination was to stamp on them and throw them in the bin.

Baking tantrums aside, this morning, amazingly, I found the meringues had improved. I did have misgivings about this recipe (due to my experience with the Dattelkonfekt which continue to mock me every time I open the freezer). I thought about baking them like ordinary meringues (i.e. over a long period at low heat) but I reasoned that this was a project to try new things not repeat the same old thing so I decided to try it Rose's way.

It's not a difficult recipe if you have standmixer. You start by toasting some pecans.

Then in a fairly unusual approach (in my experience) to making meringues, you put Muscovado sugar and egg whites together in the standmixer and combine them.

Once combined you rev the mixer up and leave it for five minutes. To my surprise the eggwhites and sugar whipped into a perfectly solid meringue. This process never fails to amaze.

And delight.

The chopped pecans are folded into the meringue.

And small dobs from an icecream scoop are placed on a tray.

And then flattened out with a spatula.  I should say, to this point, I really enjoyed this recipe, I just love the textures that eggs can produce. Not to mention the meringue tasted pretty delicious.

It was in the baking that the issue emerged. The problem seemed to be very similar to the Dattelkonfekt in that the meringue rose beautifully in the oven but turned into a rubbery flat disc once they emerged from the oven. Increasing the cooking time improved them slightly but at that heat they started to taste slightly charred and still weren't the crispy meringue I was expecting.

In the photos they don't look too bad and you can't tell they're chewy and soft. In disgust I shoved them into the fridge overnight (when the aforementioned accident nearly put paid to them completely). When I took them out to take a photo with the icecream the next morning I discovered that some of them, at least, had become more crispy. They certainly weren't perfect and I wouldn't have served them at a dinner party but they were probably in a good enough state to serve to close friends or family (who would be sympathetic to my baking travails and appreciative of the effort).

So it wasn't a complete disaster but next time I'm just going to bake them as I do plain meringues and see if I get better results. I assume the problem is the humidity although at this time of the year it's much lower.  I guess next time we'll see.

The cook's consolation.

Next week we're making Fourth of July Cheesecake around the time guessed it, Independence Day in the US


  1. Lol, you have such good titles for your posts "Bad meringue, good meringue" :) We all have a "little blue plate" in some form, I think they look like they would taste lovely, as slightly caramelised meringue does.

  2. They look nice! Did you enjoy the flavor and chewy texture?

  3. I can't tell that your meringue is bad they look good..better than mine all puffy and can't even make into sandwich...

  4. Chickens will eat anything, including bad meringue. That way you don't have to be mocked by meringues ever again. At least yours looked good!